Sometimes I learn as much about education from those outside the homeschooling realm as within. They give me a different perspective of how we are doing and share a little about the world in which I do not dwell. My recent lesson had to do with the apparent lack of discipline coming from homeschooling students.
It seems public schools are becoming wary of students who used to be homeschooled but now wish to resume their public education. (In our region, those wishing to rejoin the public system must take a thorough exam to verify their academic achievement.) It looks as though homeschooling students fail to have the rigor and drive it takes to adapt to a classroom setting.
In which ways are we coming short? Let’s take a look:
We fail to turn in assignments on time: It seems one of the most recent criticisms being made is that we fail to understand the concept of a deadline. We are so used to doing things at our own pace – completing projects at will – deadlines are foreign.
We fail to work in a group: A lot of homeschoolers are trained to work on projects alone. They work independently and at their own pace; working in a group can be a challenge.
We fail to communicate: As parents we tend to “pick up” on our children’s needs. Our children are not becoming familiar with making their needs known and speaking up when help is needed.
We lack order: We start our day when we want, work on whichever curriculum we want, eat lunch when it’s convenient, and generally go about our day to please our own routines. There is no concept of time management, spacial management, organization, or responsibility to others.
We lack respect: Coming from former homeschool students now attending college, it seems many homeschooled children are unfamiliar with how to properly address those in authority. Previously homeschooled students speak out in class, failing to raise their hands; they address teachers informally; and believe they can talk their teachers out of assignments.
I am sure the list could go on, but these are just some of the recent claims to hit my ears. While, at first, we might balk at these statements and quickly dismiss them, perhaps we ought to give them some consideration….
It has been said by some, they are not “training their child to climb someone else’s ladder, but to build their own”. More power to them; I’m married to an entrepreneur, so I’m all for it. However, if we are to be honest with ourselves, some of these claims have nothing to do with “climbing someone else’s ladder”, but rather common sense which is needed for everyday life.
Even if we never plan to attend college (college isn’t for everyone), discipline and order are necessary life skills. How we manage our businesses, our bills, and our homes will have a huge effect on our success in life.
As a homeschooling parent, I want to be aware of these concerns and work through them. While I do not plan for my children to ever attend public school, some (if not all) of them do plan on college. I do not want to wait until the last-minute to make my children familiar with these principles. While they are young, they should learn to be organized and neat. While they are growing, they should learn how to ask others for help and to speak up when needed. As they grow older, the concept of deadlines needs to be implemented. I want to afford them the opportunity of not just working independently (which is important), but also of working with others to complete group projects.
All of these skills make for not just a well-rounded student, but a well-rounded adult. No matter their future goals (college, motherhood, trade schools, etc), these are necessary areas of achievement. Bills need to be paid on time, households and businesses need to be well run, families work better when they work together, and organization always makes life move more smoothly.
While I do not give credence to all claims regarding homeschoolers, I find no fault in listening and praying about their accusations. Sometimes the Lord uses their concerns to open my eyes to areas in which I was blind. In the above areas, I think we are doing well. I believe we are doing our best to not only help our children learn, but to give them the necessary skills to pursue further education if they so desire. If they choose not to attend college… well, hey; at least they’ll be well prepared adults, right?
Chime In!: Do you think homeschoolers lack discipline?